Benchmade 890 Torrent: razor sharp function in a modern design
By Rick Shandley
Designed by Ken Steigerwalt, this Benchmade 890 Torrent folder deploys rapidly with Nitrous assist blade opening mechanism and a boost from the right-hand thumb stud. It’s not an automatic, but the 3.6-inch 890 Torrent drop point blade can swing into readiness just as quick with a little practice. You have the option of several different configurations of the Benchmade model 890. The one we reviewed is a black on black straight edge. We like it!
What stood out immediately about the 890 is the blade-back is 0.1 inches or 2.54 millimeters thick. That’s pretty thin. This relative thinness (compared to a Benchmade 950 or the heftier Benchmade 760) enhances the ability of the flat-ground 154CM stainless steel blade to sever materials with higher precision than the cleaving effect of thicker blades. Thick blades are great for many purposes, but using a fine razor edge with a thinner blade lends itself to deep clean cuts with little blade resistance. Oh, we value those thicker blades for many reasons. We just observed the fine things about this thinner blade.
It brings to mind an evening at the Sundance Steak House in Palo Alto, California where the steak knives are a bit like meat saws; nice but overkill and not very sharp. So that prime rib dinner was not being properly honored for the fine cut of meat that it was. Out came the 890 in that dark dinner booth, only casually observed by the wait staff with no objections, to slice that slab of prime rib properly at slightly angled cuts so as not to dull the edge on the porcelain china dinner plate. A fine prime rib deserves to be sliced by a fine knife in a gentlemanly fashion. After the first use of the 890 blade was initiated, the slicing was applied to other materials.
Usually this writer will go out of his way not to dull a razor edge unless what is being cut is worth taxing the blade. But with the
Benchmade 890 Torrent, the common chores like slicing through small-gauge irrigation tubing, climbing rope, flat nylon webbing, and heavier rope gauges are the kinds of materials this blade is excellent at. It’s a folding knife that hits the sweet spot for 154CM stainless steel as a blade material. Obviously Benchmade likes to use this steel in many of their folding knifes, and it works well with the 890. Because the 890 under assessment was put to work around the ranch, blade touch ups and honing would be more frequent, but the drop-point design and the easy radius of the blade sweep to the knife tip makes this a doable procedure for a solid working knife this one is.
Titanium steel blade liners run the length of the body. The Nitrous assist design uses the tension of two Titanium steel torsion arms designed into the blade liners to make contact on the blade tang (rear of blade termination point) so that as the user applies pressure from the right thumb onto the blade top thumb-stud in a forward and clock-wise arc past 30°, the torsion arms continue to open the blade fully into the locked position.
As the blade is swung to open position, the clip-side stainless steel liner springs inward to lock the knife tang into a position. This blade locking mechanism, in and of itself, is a design has been tried a true for decades, and it secures the blade in the open position for any type of cutting you might require the 890 to accomplish. But the patented Nitrous assist of the Titanium steel torsion arms adds an entirely new dimension to the safe deployment of the blade and locking it in place.
Closing the blade simply requires the user to apply pressure from the right thumb to move the Titanium steel liner back towards the inner handle shell to disengage and fold the blade securely. Both opening and closing of the 890 blade is swift and safe. Like any fine cutting tool, you learn how to use it, care for it, and apply its features. Even though this writer is left-handed and the 890 Torrent is set up for right handed users, it is easy enough for a non-right handed person to become proficient at, like everything else in a right handed world.
When the Benchmade 890BK Torrent (BK for black) is opened it measures 8.2 inches in length. The knife handle scale design offers plenty of room for big hands to work with the knife with certainty and safety, but not bulky. The thinner blade thickness seems to be incorporated with a generally slim overall profile of the Benchmade 890. Handle scales are made with G10 material made of composite fibers bound with epoxy under tremendous pressure. This G10 material does not conduct electricity, is highly resistant to moisture, and it provides a wonderful grip surface thus reducing the chance of the 890 from slipping out of your hand when working with the blade.
Yet one of the qualities most observed about G10 as a knife handle or handle scale material is the myriad of creative ways this
material can be shaped and sculpted to lend uniqueness and beauty to a cutting tool. This entire review could have been written strictly on the aesthetic sculpture and design of Ken Steigerwalt’s creative art form. Yet, the 890 is every bit as much of a working knife, and the working qualities could be quantified more directly than describing the beauty of this particular folding knife.
A tip-down carry clip and the thumb stud are designed for right-handed owners. Like any fine knife, this folder is one that will last a lifetime, an heirloom, to be gifted upon that one person somewhere along the road of life who you know will value a cutting tool encased in aesthetically unique art form and created by a gifted knife maker.
Photo location: Gila National Forest in New Mexico above Silver City.
Note: See below photo gallery for Benchmade 890 Torrent specifications and features.
Specifications and Features
Price: $150 – $165
Blade Length: 3.60″
Blade Thickness: 0.100″
Handle Thickness: 0.600″
Blade Material: 154CM Stainless Steel
Blade Hardness: 58-61HRC
Blade Style: Modified Drop Point
Clip: Tip Down Carry-Clip
Lock Mechanism: Locking-Liner with Nitrous Assist
Overall Length: 8.20″
Closed Length: 4.60″
Sheath Material: Sold Separately
Best quality: Made in the U.S.A